Of the new cases confirmed on Friday, 1,643 were in the central region of Mazowieckie, which contains the national capital Warsaw.
Meanwhile, 1,380 new infections were reported in the western province of Wielkopolskie, which is home to the major city of Poznań.
The southern coal mining region of Silesia had the third-highest number of new infections confirmed by officials on Friday, at 1,355.
The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are 421 people with pre-existing medical conditions and 110 who died directly because of COVID-19, the Polish health ministry said in a tweet.
On Thursday, Poland confirmed 620 deaths and 14,838 new coronavirus infections nationwide, compared with 609 deaths and 13,855 fresh cases a day earlier.
On Wednesday, November 25, the country reported a record 674 new deaths linked to the coronavirus.
On Saturday, November 7, the Polish health ministry confirmed 27,875 new single-day cases, the most since the pandemic hit the country in early March.
20,135 in hospitals, 262,548 quarantined
The health ministry announced on Friday morning that 20,135 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 1,961 of them on ventilators, with a further 262,548 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure, and 19,605 under epidemiological supervision.
Meanwhile, 666,413 people have now recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, including 19,853 over the last 24 hours, the health ministry also said.
Second wave hits hard
Tougher measures to battle COVID-19 came into effect across Poland last month following a surge in cases amid a second wave of the pandemic.
Hotels are only able to take in guests on business trips. Theatres, cinemas, museums and galleries have been told to close temporarily.
The government has announced that restaurants, cinemas, theaters and gyms will remain closed until at least December 27.
Schools and universities throughout the country have returned to distance learning.
Under restrictions announced in October, children under 16 are only allowed to leave their homes under the supervision of an adult between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, pubs, restaurants and cafes are only allowed to provide take-aways and delivery orders.
Gatherings of more than five people have been forbidden, though people who live or work together are exempt from the rule.
Also, the government has appealed to people aged over 70 not to leave their homes unless necessary.
Poland in October introduced special shopping hours for people aged over 60 between 10 a.m. and noon.
Amid a spike in coronavirus cases, strict new rules came into effect in the country earlier this fall under which everyone is required to wear a face covering when going out in public.
Beginning October 10, people must cover their mouths and noses when outdoors in public places as well as in most indoor environments nationwide.
Amid an escalating outbreak, the country has decided to set up a network of temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients.
Meanwhile, those testing positive for COVID-19 will be monitored remotely from their homes using special finger-clip devices called pulse oximeters, under a new plan announced by the country’s health minister on Monday, November 30.
Warnings of 'third wave'
Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska told the media at the end of last week that Poland was preparing to handle a possible "third wave" of the coronavirus pandemic early next year.
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski last week warned that the chances of the country being hit by a third wave of the coronavirus would be greater if people did not spend the winter school break at home.
With 453 COVID-19 deaths per million population, Poland remains less affected by the coronavirus epidemic than some other countries in Europe, new statistics have shown.
To compare, Belgium has 1,425 deaths per million residents since the start of the pandemic, according to new data released by the Polish health ministry on Tuesday, while Spain has 964 and Italy reports 920.
Vaccines on the horizon
The Polish prime minister's top aide told a news conference on Friday that the country was preparing to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination program and planning around 8,000 vaccination sites nationwide, with a detailed list expected to be made available to the public by December 15.
Photo: PAP/EPA/BIONTECH SE/HANDOUT
"We want there to be a vaccination point in every district," Michał Dworczyk, chief of staff to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Friday.
Mіchał Dworczyk, chief of staff to Poland's conservative Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: Wojciech Kusiński/Polish Radio
The Polish prime minister said on Wednesday, December 2, that his country could start free, voluntary, two-stage vaccinations against the coronavirus in February.
Morawiecki said last month that millions of vaccines against the coronavirus were likely to reach his country next spring as part of a European deal with drug makers.
Morawiecki said on November 13 that his government has set up a working group with experts from US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer amid efforts to make a COVID-19 vaccine available to Poles as quickly as possible.
In mid-November, Morawiecki also talked with executives from global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca as part of efforts to secure a COVID-19 vaccine for Poland, state news agency PAP reported.
The European Union, of which Poland is part, has already struck deals to secure vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, CureVac, Sanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson, taking its potential stock of COVID-19 shots to nearly 2 billion, news agencies have reported.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) could produce a scientific opinion on COVID-19 vaccines seeking regulatory approval by the end of the year in a best case scenario, the regulator's new chief was quoted as saying last week.
Britain on Wednesday, December 2, became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for general use, with plans to roll it out from early next week.
Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info, Reuters